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Individualized Placement and Support (IPS)


Individualized Placement and Support (IPS) is a model of supported employment specifically designed for people with severe mental illness. It aims to assist them in finding and maintaining competitive employment opportunities. The IPS approach combines evidence-based practices with individualized services, emphasizing rapid job search, integration of mental health and employment support, and a focus on clients’ preferences.

Key Takeaways

  1. Individualized Placement and Support (IPS) is a proven employment model that assists veterans with mental health issues or disabilities to gain access to competitive employment, by providing them personalized support and job placement services.
  2. IPS focuses on the rapid job search approach, which encourages veterans to quickly enter the workforce and aims to match their job preferences, while also offering ongoing support services, such as vocational counseling, medication management, and benefits planning.
  3. Research has demonstrated the effectiveness of the IPS model, showing that it significantly increases the chances of veterans obtaining and maintaining employment, resulting in improved self-esteem, financial stability, and overall quality of life.


Individualized Placement and Support (IPS) is an essential element of VA benefits as it aims to empower veterans suffering from mental health challenges to achieve meaningful employment and reintegrate into society.

By providing personalized, practical job support services that cater to each veteran’s unique skills, preferences, and interests, IPS plays a significant role in enhancing the quality of life and self-sufficiency for these individuals.

Furthermore, this model fosters economic stability and overall mental well-being, ultimately helping veterans build positive relationships within their communities.

In a broader perspective, IPS underscores the commitment to support and appreciate the valuable contributions of veterans, acknowledging their sacrifices and promoting social inclusion as they transition back into civilian life.


Individualized Placement and Support (IPS) is a specialized employment service designed to assist veterans in their pursuit of meaningful and sustainable careers. Centrally focused on providing personalized support tailored to each individual’s specific needs, the program strives to assist veterans with obtaining competitive employment opportunities. By melding the realms of mental health care and employment support, the IPS model aims to empower veterans to overcome the unique barriers they encounter when trying to enter or re-enter the workforce.

These barriers may stem from service-related disabilities, mental health challenges, or just difficulties navigating today’s job market. In essence, the program’s purpose lies in empowering veterans to be self-reliant, financially independent, and emotionally equipped to take on the challenges of employment. To achieve this purpose, IPS relies on a collaborative, team-based approach by bringing together various support specialists, such as vocational counselors, job developers, and employment specialists.

These professionals work alongside veterans, engaging with them closely to understand their career aspirations, personal strengths, and suitable accommodations. By fostering partnerships with local employers, the IPS team actively scouts for job opportunities that align with the veterans’ goals, while simultaneously addressing any potential skill development gaps or support needs. By offering continuous assistance through this targeted approach, Individualized Placement and Support ultimately aims to transform the lives of veterans, helping them to build a sustainable career and elevate their overall quality of life.

Examples of Individualized Placement and Support (IPS)

Individualized Placement and Support (IPS) is an evidence-based approach to supported employment that aims to help individuals with severe mental illness find and maintain competitive jobs. This approach has been successfully implemented in various programs across the United States and globally. Here are three real-world examples of IPS in action:

Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center’s IPS Program:Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, New Hampshire’s only academic medical center, runs an IPS program for individuals experiencing mental health issues, particularly severe mental illnesses. The program partners with local businesses, governmental agencies, and mental health service providers to find competitive employment opportunities for its participants. These customized services help participants secure positions that align with their skills, interests, and goals, which fosters long-term job success.

South Carolina Department of Mental Health’s IPS Program:The South Carolina Department of Mental Health (SCDMH) has been a strong advocate for IPS-supported employment services. With a network of certified community mental health centers statewide, the SCDMH program offers comprehensive employment support services to people with severe mental illness. The agency collaborates with employers, helping them understand mental health challenges and the role they can play in supporting individuals on their recovery journey.

Australia’s National Employment Services Association (NESA) IPS Program:Demonstrating the effectiveness of IPS beyond US borders, the National Employment Services Association (NESA) in Australia has implemented the IPS model within its employment service programs. Through this, they help people with severe mental illness find their place in the Australian labor market by matching them with suitable roles and providing ongoing support—both during the job application process and after placement. Training, education, and assistance with daily living skills are areas in which NESA’s IPS program supports job seekers, helping them achieve success in the workplace.

FAQ: Individualized Placement and Support (IPS)

1. What is Individualized Placement and Support (IPS)?

Individualized Placement and Support (IPS) is an evidence-based approach to supported employment that helps people with serious mental illness find and maintain competitive jobs tailored to their preferences, strengths, and abilities. IPS focuses on rapid job search strategies, an integration of mental health and employment services, and long-term, ongoing support for both the individual and the employer.

2. Who is eligible for IPS services?

Eligibility for IPS services generally includes veterans who have a serious mental illness that significantly interferes with their ability to work or maintain employment. Eligibility criteria may vary slightly according to the specific programs and funding sources. It’s always best to check with your local VA facility for detailed eligibility information.

3. How can I access IPS services?

To access IPS services, contact your local VA Medical Center or VA Community-Based Outpatient Clinic. A mental health professional can help determine your eligibility for the program and refer you to the appropriate services. You can also ask your VA primary care provider for more information and to help you connect with the IPS team in your area.

4. What type of employment opportunities can I expect from IPS?

IPS aims to help individuals find competitive jobs in the community that match their preferences, strengths, and abilities. The range of potential job opportunities varies widely, based on the individual’s goals and skills. Examples of positions IPS participants have secured include office work, retail, food service, trades, and more.

5. How will IPS support me once I find a job?

Once you find a job, IPS continues to provide ongoing support for both you and your employer. This support varies based on your needs and preferences and can include job coaching, helping you learn new job tasks, problem-solving workplace issues, and providing support in managing your mental health symptoms while working. The frequency and duration of the support are tailored to your individual needs and continue as long as necessary to ensure your success in the workplace.

Related VA Benefit Terms

  • Supported Employment
  • Vocational Rehabilitation
  • Job Coaching Services
  • Employment Specialist
  • Integrated Work Settings

Sources for More Information

  • U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs: The official website of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs provides comprehensive information on all VA benefits including Individualized Placement and Support (IPS).
  • IPS Employment Center: The IPS Employment Center website offers resources, training, and support for IPS programs and is a reliable source for information about IPS for VA benefits.
  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA): The SAMHSA website contains valuable information on mental health and substance abuse services, including descriptions of Individualized Placement and Support (IPS) within the context of VA benefits.
  • National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI): NAMI provides resources and support on mental health issues. You can find more information about opportunities in IPS for VA benefits on their website.